De-Facebooking. A New Year's Resolution?

De-Facebooking. A New Year's Resolution?

Summary: Are you still Facebooking? Me too. But, for how long can we continue to do something that is a huge waste of time?


I've noticed that a lot of people are de-Facebooking this year. Is it a New Year's Resolution or just a trend? And, no, my dear Facebook friends aren't unfriending me, they're actually removing their Facebook accounts. It isn't just people I know, either. I've heard a lot of people talking about this weird, new de-Facebooking phenonmenon. I'd ask why but I'm sure I know the answer already. It's a turning away of "social" networking. I think that a lot of people are discovering that it is as Betty White succinctly put it, when she hosted Saturday Night Live, "It seems like a huge waste of time."

Yes, Betty, it is that.

I'm on Facebook because my kids are on it and I think it's wise to keep an eye on them and their shenanigans. It's also kind of fun to see and talk to a few old friends again but seriously, if I really cared to stay in touch with someone that I went to elementary school with, I would have figured out another way to do it.

I'd like to get an accurate count of how many relationships are broken up because of Facebook. I don't gamble but I'd bet a dollar the number is very high--so high in fact, that it surpasses the number of relationships created by that avenue. And, by relationships created, I mean ones that weren't destroyed by it first.

My wife spends time on Facebook, multiple times per day and it used to bother me. But, now I think she's getting tired of certain people. She complains about them posting rancid dialogue about Christian beliefs or one thing or another. My response is always the same: "Why don't you unfriend them?"

And, alas, her response is always the same too: "Because they'll know."

Seriously, who cares if they know? Most of them aren't worth the electricity it requires her to read their statuses of what they had for lunch today, where they're currently having a beer or whom they're dating--or whatever it is that they're doing.

I don't find it difficult to ignore Facebook or what's going on in that realm. Most days, I just don't have time to use it. Nor do I really care to. Everyone in my family and my real friends know how to contact me. Strangers, Spammers and PR people have no problem contacting me. So, really I don't use it for contact purposes. I don't sign in and chat it up with people who live two blocks away, either. I simply don't have a lot of interest in it. But, I don't have a compelling reason to delete my account.

I happily remain in that twilight lit zone between tolerance and disgust.

For the most part, I think Facebook is a fad that someday we'll all look back on and laughingly say, "Can you believe we used to Facebook?" My response will be, "No, no I can't."

But, I've made no such New Year's Resolution to de-Facebook nor to unfriend anyone whom I've never met. I have unfriended a few people but not many--only the really irritating ones and I re-friended one of those, so my friends number stays pretty stable.

I use Facebook as an outlet for some of my writings and I continue to post my stories on there because I want people to 'Like' them. Some of them do, too. Most of them probably have no idea what I do nor would they understand it if they found out. And, so it goes.

I've had some writer friends tell me that, "You've got to put time into Facebook to make it work for you."


Hunter S. Thompson didn't have Facebook. Jack Kerouac didn't have Facebook. Edgar Allen Poe didn't have Facebook. Mark Twain didn't have Facebook--He would have made fun of it. But, if they had Facebook, I wonder if any of them would have been my Facebook friends? I would have enjoyed 'Poking' Mark Twain.

For now, I'm stuck on Facebook. That is, until my kids find some other way to annoy me besides Facebooking and texting.

In case you're wondering, yes, I'll accept your Friend requests on Facebook or Google+ or any other social network. Just don't expect me to be there very often. When I am, feel free to say, "Howdy, Ken, what did you have for lunch today."

I had Italian Wedding Soup for lunch. Thanks for asking.

What do you think about de-Facebooking? Are you in for the long haul or are you thinking it's time to dump it for more intellectual pursuits? Talk back and let me know.

Topic: Social Enterprise


Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: De-Facebooking. A New Year's Resolution?

    Even if the social network side of it falls off... FB will never go away. With the sheer # of users, they've amassed such a nice data warehouse that they've secured a future for themselves.<br><br>Case in point... I've never signed up for Facebook, yet my name, phone, and email is in their warehouse... because friends of mine who [i]are[/i] on facebook, and have my contact info included in their Gmail contacts, and have allowed the upload to FB, have shared my info with FB without me lifting a finger (we've argued about this)... whether I wanted FB to have it or not. LOL... ya know, "in case I ever want to sign up for FB"<br><br>Will FB's business model change? Yep. Will they ever go away? Nah
    • RE: De-Facebooking. A New Year's Resolution?

      That's an interesting observation. What do you think they would do with that information, knowing that contact information changes rapidly?
      • Or Not!

        @khess - My information too is in there via friends contacts, even though I have repeatedly asked them to delete my info. Some of us are more stable and contact info remains the same for years, sometimes decades. I've worked at the same company for 32 years, I've had the same email address for 20 years, I've lived in the same home for 25 years and have had the same phone number for 12 years.

        It's not right for anyone to collect personal data on anyone, by any 3rd party you have no control over!
      • Contact data does NOT change rapidly..... ??

        @khess ... Everyone I know has a stable email address has for over 10yrs. Hundreds of people and I work in the IT world. Its not difficult to have stable information even if you swap companies and move.

        How long has hotmail and yahoo been in business?
        Reality Bites
  • Not dumping Facebook, but definitely using it less.

    I spend pretty much no time with people that I would call friends, and I want to change that. You know, actually do things together... share common interests.... things like that. When I look at non-family FB friends, I see very little in common with most of them. Frankly, I don't think most of them would walk across the street to come to my funeral. With that in mind, I'm not de-friending them but I am blocking them from my news feed, etc. It's just not worth spending a lot of time communicating with people that wouldn't notice if you disappeared (which applies to many people's FB "friends").
    • RE: De-Facebooking. A New Year's Resolution?

      @stevethehawk None of my real friends that I like to spend time with are on FaceBook. You know Grant, Jackson, good old Ben ... the kinds of friends a guy can really count on in clutch situations.
  • Facebook? Who cares!

    Yes, I'm on Facebook because enough family and friends badgered me to do so. However, I rarely spend time there, rarely log in, and don't respond to notifications to play their stupid games or download their stupid apps. Once in a while, I'll upload some ancient photos from decades past to amuse the family and friends whom I've "friended."

    It has some uses, but spending too much time there is just a waste of time, and I've got plenty of other, productive things to do.
    sissy sue
  • RE: De-Facebooking. A New Year's Resolution?

    Do what I do: have FB also to keep in touch with my daugther who is abroad; do have lots more friends signed, but not the main reason for my account... therefore, I only sign in to contact my princess and then log off immediately; and, have no photos, no info at all, nothing but an email account created just for this use. In other words: I USE THEM AS I WISH, NOT FB ME FOR COMMERCIAL MILKING.
    • RE: De-Facebooking. A New Year's Resolution?

      @mario_reni_roldan@... I'm just curious, but why can't you keep in touch with your daughter via email rather than FB? And if you want to chat, you can certainly find various chat tools to use other than FB.
      • RE: De-Facebooking. A New Year's Resolution?

        @justliloleme Agreed that email or phone/skype works just fine without the bother of the many so-called-friends.
        Never even thought to think about signing up...private email and private phone does it for me and my two long distance princesses!
  • RE: De-Facebooking. A New Year's Resolution?

    I've moved around a lot and have friends in several of the United States. FB allows me to know what's going on with them a little more real-time than the annual December card and letter combo. I can "Like" their comments so they know I'm still around and actually do think about them -- even if I wasn't reminded by FB.<br><br>Games? No. Chat with neighbors? No. But I do chat with the college kids I know. Distant family also becomes more real-time. Phone calls will almost always disturb something, so FB makes "real-time" like the last day or so, which is usually good enough.<br><br>Annoying people you can still have as "Friends", but "Unsubscribe" to everything they post. That way, they don't know you're not really there. Some of these privacy innovations actually are helpful.<br><br>I might have locked down FB so that my friends can't see what I'm doing anymore. I don't know because I don't have the time or iinclination to click on that link that lets me see how my friends see my . . . um, well, it used to be "Wall".
  • RE: De-Facebooking. A New Year's Resolution?

    I've never bothered with Facebook or the other "social" media. I'm a pretty private person, and see no great need to share. I can only see a very few benefits, despite a recent spate of career management blog posts etc. about how this is essential to an IT professional's career. Why bother?
  • RE: De-Facebooking. A New Year's Resolution?

    There are two ways to use social media:
    a. to socialize
    b. to market

    The mistake most make is that they confuse the two. I never spend any time on Facebook talking to friends. Instead I talk to potential clients. This COULD be a quick ride into the search engines occasionally.

    The value of using Facebook for marketing has been decreased recently however, as Google + has taken over the prime spot in regards to social media marketing. Much simpler, easy interface and posts show up in the index. Compared to Google +, Twitter is a train wreck and Facebook a burdensome disaster waiting to happen. I think you are spot on with this post.
  • RE: De-Facebooking. A New Year's Resolution?

    It really depends on your situation and how you view Facebook. Our society obviously very mobile and it is not uncommon to live far away from most of your family and friends (from earlier stages of life). My wife and I have 2 boys (3yo and 5yo) and our distance family can stay as tuned-in to what's happening with us even though we're 2,000 miles away. No way are FB-like apps going away. I think we are in the early stages of using this social concept and feeling some of the growing pains (like 'friending' everyone who asks or requesting to be friends with people you barely know/knew just because you recognize their name or used to see them walking down the hall in high school, etc.).
    The authors views and use of FB-like apps are not uncommon. But to think just because a percentage of our population will never enjoy/use FB-like apps still does not diminish the usefullness (or wastefullness, whatever your situation may be) of the concept. It's not going away...
  • RE: De-Facebooking. A New Year's Resolution?

    My daughter set my account up, as she did for my wife.
    I canceled mine after the first email from facebook. However, they pestered me for weeks to come back, and 'learn' how to use it. "Go away"
    I use LinkedIn as I think of it as Facebook for adults.
  • RE: De-Facebooking. A New Year's Resolution?

    Maybe the problem is the author has "friended" a lot of people that aren't actually friends.

    All the data tracking bugs the crap out of me but I still enjoy Facebook. I've only friended people that are actually friends or family and I enjoy having conversations with them and sharing their little life tidbits. Many of my friends and family are a considerable distance away and I can't just have lunch and chit-chat with them. Could I call on the phone? Sure. But Facebook is more convenient for me.

    So, I'm arguing for less data tracking and hanging in there for the short term, at least.
    • RE: De-Facebooking. A New Year's Resolution?

      @CochranMA I never friend anyone whose name I do not recognize, even though there may be some tenuous connection between them and someone I do know.
  • Facebook will go away when jobs come back

    I think for the most part Facebook will get old. A lot of what I see posted is a reach to be interesting to anyone. Sometimes I know my friends try too hard to sound interesting on Facebook. Its a bit of a joke to think anybody's life is that exciting everyday. Do I care if you just got back from shopping? No. Maybe for young people its more of a attraction. Although my 13 year old daughter does more texting then Facebook. It is a real time killer and sometimes I wonder how social Facebook really is. Does it prevent us from really going out and socializing?
  • RE: De-Facebooking. A New Year's Resolution?

    I was on Facebook for almost a year ( about two years ago). Like most people, I signed up to stay in touch with family. I have family from coast to coast. Two things prompted me to delete my account; 1) Privacy concerns and 2) When I would post to a family member's wall, I sometimes would not get a response. I figured, "What's the point?". It certainly was nice to connect with friends from the past, but, yes, spent many hours just reading posts. In the end, it was not how I wanted to spend my time.
  • RE: De-Facebooking. A New Year's Resolution?

    i have always disliked facebook! read alot of interviews and people are leaving it because EVEN they themselves realize that they are losing touch in REALITY with other people!
    I am not a member nor will i ever be! AMEN!!!
    oh sure it has its good points but the negative far outway it! it's a lame way to communicate! how about picking up the phone? actually TALKING!!!
    i'm sick of seeing it everywhere! and mark needs to fess up with all the tracking it does EVEN IF you go on a site that has a facebook still trackes you just not to the degree if you are a member!
    YEAH...He DID do it for money!
    I sure don't see him giving away alot!!!
    i would like to see a hacking group shut it down! they are smarter than him & could do it! OMG what then?????
    people would actually have to communicate with people!!!
    wow!!!...reality.....what a concept!!!